2 SAMUEL 23:24-24:25 | ACTS 3:1-26 | PSALM 123:1-4 | PROVERBS 16:21-23
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These were the days when the Lord still spoke directly to his people. Which is how David engaged the Lord in conversation about matters concerning the governing of the state of Israel. Upon the Lord’s command, David conducts a census and discovers there are far more able-bodied fighting men than he had thought he had. Later, we find that the Lord is not pleased with David and gives him the choice of selecting one of three horrific forms of punishment. It seems as though David leaves it up to the Lord, and for three days there is a plague that afflicts the land and there is great loss of life.
But we find an interesting note about how even during the meting out of the punishment, God himself stays the hand of the angel of Death. Evidently, this isn’t a God who believes in justice, for if it is justice that he meted out, not a single one of us would remain standing. No, it is not justice that we must ever ask for, and it is never justice that we receive from God. What we get is forgiveness. This is what David experienced during this incident.
But this was still not the kind of forgiveness that we have in Christ Jesus today. Despite the occasional moments of mercy, this was still a time when atonement and offerings were to be made in order to make things right with God. And David does just that. The post-plague plans of King David include buying a field, building an altar, and sacrificing burnt offerings and fellowship offerings.
Turning now to our reading in the book of Acts, we see the ministry of Peter and John. The scene with the lame man is reminiscent of the incident that Jesus himself had encountered. But Peter does not assume the personage of Jesus, rather, he invokes the name of Jesus in healing the man when he says: “Silver or gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk.”
And to the onlookers, Peter goes on to say this: 16 By faith in the name of Jesus, this man whom you see and know was made strong. It is Jesus’ name and the faith that comes through him that has completely healed him, as you can all see.
Turning now to our psalm for the day, David’s words asking for mercy are the same ones that would serve us also well today:
3 Have mercy on us, LORD, have mercy on us,
for we have endured no end of contempt.
Finally, one verse from the book of Proverbs that states clearly how one might go about in “promoting instruction”. It is not by speaking loudly and repeatedly; it is by speaking in a gracious manner, and in understanding the value of using a quiet and calm voice in persuading a person to your point of view.
To me, this means LISTENING as much as TALKING. And doing so in a spirit of love. If you have the wisdom to conduct your conversations in this manner, you will indeed succeed in “promoting instruction.” This is what King Solomon, the author of this book says:
23 The hearts of the wise make their mouths prudent,
and their lips promote instruction.
May God bless the reading and reflection of His Word.